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Civil War Symposium returns to Clark County

The Clark County Historical Society will host an American Civil War themed symposium this weekend featuring period music, artifacts and lectures from noted historians.

The seventh annual Civil War Symposium will focus on topics such as the homefront and the Reconstruction era after the war on Saturday at the Heritage Center of Clark County, 117 S. Fountain Ave.

The event, which starts at 9 a.m., will be held at the center’s rotating gallery room and will include a continental breakfast, a catered lunch and refreshments.

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Four noted historians from across the country will each present a lecture on a different aspect of the war. The presentations will begin with Professor Thomas Taylor from Wittenberg University reviewing the contributions of Springfield native J. Warren Kiefer, an accomplished general and member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the mid to late 19th century.

Former West Point Professor Ethan Rafuse will explore the role of Stonewall Jackson in the conflict.

The lecture series will continue with Professor Mark Grimsley from Ohio State University discussing Reconstruction. Professor Nicole Etcheson of Ball State University will talk about the effects that the war had on families on the homefront. It’s the first year that the home front will be examined during the symposium.

Historical Civil War period music will also be featured and will include performances from local musician Steven Ball. Artifacts from the Civil War will be on display and will include pieces from the private collections of Clark County residents.

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Attendees are also encouraged to check out the Civil War exhibit at the Heritage Center.

The symposium began in 2010 as part of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Clark County resident Ski Schanner, a local history buff, believed it would be a good idea to host an event for it.

“Across the country, especially east of the Mississippi, communities were beginning to do that for a five-year period of time to commemorate the sesquicentennial,” he said. “I thought we would do the same thing in Springfield.”

Schanner worked with the Clark County Historical Society to recruit lecturers from across the country and since then they have thrown an annual Civil War Symposium, each year dealing with new aspects of the Civil War.

Tickets for the symposium will be $60 for adults, $50 for members and $20 for students. The historical society will offer a scholarship for students from seventh to 12th grades to attend.

For more information on the symposium, tickets and scholarship opportunities contact the Clark County Historical Society at 937-324-0657

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